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UK Retailer GAME Sees Revenue Decline, 24.2 Million Console Installed Base

U.K.-based retailer Game Group posted a 9.1 percent decline in the first half of its fiscal year, due to a tough comparison; report also shows 24.2 million U.K. console installed base.
The total current generation console hardware installed base in the U.K. currently stands at 24.2 million units with Nintendo platforms leading rivals, according to a mid-year sales report from U.K.-based retailer Game Group. The Nintendo DS' installed base through June 27 was 9.1 million units in the region, not including 300,000 units for the recently-released Nintendo DSi. Nintendo Wii leads all home consoles with 5.4 million. The current tally for U.K. installed base is below (Game Group's report cites U.K. research firm Chart-Track): DS: 9.1 million Wii: 5.4 million 360: 3.9 million PSP: 3.3 million PS3: 2.2 million DSi: 300,000 Game noted that in the U.K. the ownership of third generation hardware rose by 54 percent in the 12 months to June 2009, "but at a slower rate than last year." U.K.-based retailer Game Group also posted lower sales for the first half of its fiscal year, due to a tough year-on-year comparison. Grand Theft Auto IV, Mario Kart, and Wii Fit all launched in the first half of 2008. Total sales for the company's first 21 weeks through June 27 were down 9.1 percent year-on-year, while like-for-like sales (sales that don't include artifically-enlarging elements such as new store sales) were down 15.4 percent. Game Group chairman Peter Lewis said that the results were in line with expectations, given the tough year-on-year comparison. The company did not release actual values for its mid-year report. Lewis added, "We have seen good gross margin growth due to higher margin software and accessory sales being a larger part of the sales mix and our pre-owned proposition continuing to perform well." Game expects first half profits before tax and non-recurring costs to be in line with expectations, between £13 million and £16 million. "The profit performance last half year was exceptional and this half year should be viewed in the context of our seasonal business, when customarily all Group profits are made in the second half," Lewis said. Game opened 25 stores during the period, and has a total of 1,367 stores. The company hopes to open 50 to 60 new stores before Christmas.

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